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Full text of "Letter to the members of the Connecticut Medical Society"

TO THE MEMBERS 

/" 



OF THE 



(Eonructitnt Jtte&tcal Society 



BY 



v 

W. W. RODMAN, M. D. 




WATERBURY: 

AMERICAN OFFICE:;::PRINT. 
1851. 



NOTICE. 

Copies of this pamphlet are sent to a few physicians 
who are not members of the Connecticut Medical Society, 
who might be supposed to feel some little interest in the 
matter* 



LETTER, &c. 



To the Members of the Connecticut Medical Society : 

Gentlemen : — 

The accompanying papers will explain to you the cir- 
cumstances under which I address you. From them you will 
learn that a vote of expulsion against me, has passed the 
New Haven County Society, which only lacks your sanction, 
or that of your representatives, the " President and Fellows," 
to be final. Were this act unaccompanied with ignominious 
charges, J should hardly trouble you in regard to it. Highly 
as I might esteem a connection with many of you, circum- 
stances have led me to value less than formerly, a member- 
ship which at present, at least, would be merely nominal. 
But, as a you will see, the ground of this separation is declared 
to be " dishonorable conduct" on my part. To each of you, 
then, I formally deny the charge, and hereby appeal to you 
to require through your delegates either that specifications of 
dishonor shall be produced sufficient to justify their action, 
or that the accusations shall be recalled. 

The action of the New Haven Society, if sanctioned by 
you without further explanation, will warrant the conclu- 
sion that you consider a change of opinions and practice 
from the established form, to be dishonorable conduct, and as 
such, to merit that disgrace which would be incurred by the 
most gross misdemeanor. If this is a correct inference it will 
be well to have it so understood. While I would not court 
martyrdom, if the adopting and practicing Homoeopathy is 
the occasion for it, I trust I should bear its pains and penal- 
ties with becoming fortitude. But if this is not the position 
which you are willing to assume, then I have aright to know 
on what other grounds I have been so deliberately found 
guilty of so gross an offence. As a citizen and a physician, I 
may justly claim that such a stigma be not affixed to my name 
without most distinct and ample proof of its correctness. 

The only possible ground for the imputation, so far as I can 
imagine, is that I did not on adopting the Homoeopathic prac- 
tice, seek myself a severance of my connection with the 



Medical Society. I freely confess to you that the course I 
should pursue in this respect, has been to me a cause of some 
doubts. I could not avoid seeing that in regard to it there 
might be an honest difference of opinion. To remain a mem- 
ber of the society, attending its meetings where I knew I 
should be regarded with aversion, and claiming the counsel 
and aid of its members which would be unwillingly rendered 
or altogether refused — such a course I felt no disposition to 
pursue. To propose on my part a separation which would 
be understood and represented as it has been in other cases, 
to imply that I withdrew myself from you because I consid- 
ered myself unworthy of, or at least, not entitled to all 
those privileges which you accord to each other, seemed 
to me still more objectionable. I have been led to adopt 
a middle course — to avoid making any claims by which 
I might derive advantage from the membership, to en- 
deavor to avoid giving offence, but to take no step which 
would imply what would be false — that I considered myself 
any less worthy of your esteem, or that it was any the less 
your duty to rank me as you do your most worthy members. 
If this has been regarded by you as dishonorable, I beg that 
it may be so stated. The public I think will be slow to place 
such an estimate upon it. 

I will also admit that I have been conscious at times of a 
lingering hope, that in the progress of the changes which 
opinions on medicine are undergoing, most of us might, ere 
long, be found on a common platform, and I have desired 
that the retrospect might be unblotted by any acts which 
would impede a re-union of professional sympathies and 
fellowship. 

The papers annexed are all of whose existence I have any 
knowledge which bear upon this matter. 

I ask of you in justice to yourselves and to me, to instruct 
your delegates to dismiss the charges. 

Yours, respectfully, 

Wm. W. Rodman. 

Waterbury, March 10th, 1851. 



Documents alluded to in the preceding Letter. 

No. I. 

New Haven, Sept. 9, 1850. 
To P. A. Jewett, M. D. : 

Fellow of the Connecticut Medical Society : 
Sir : — I hereby present W. W. Rodman, a member of this Society, 
for trial on the following charges : 

1st. For being guilty of dishonorable conduct. 
2d. For being a vender and prescriber of quack medicines. 
3d. For being an irregular practitioner, having adopted the homoe- 
pathic or infinitesimal system. 

These charges will be preferred before the next County meeting of 
our Society, to be held in New Haven on the 15th of Oct. next. As 
a Fellow of the Society you will please give the said Rodman notice of 
the same, agreeably to the By-Laws passed in convention, Mav,1845. 

W. J. WHITING. 

No. II. 

[This was a copy of the charges and a notification from Dr. Jewett that they would 
be brought forward for action at the next meeting.] 

No. III. 

Waterbury, Sept. 17th, 1850. 
To P. A. Jewett, M. D. : 

Sir: — 1 received yesterday your notice of Dr. Whiting's inten- 
tion of charging me at the next county meeting of the Conn. Med. 
Society, with being guilty of 

1st. " Dishonorable conduct." 

2d. " Being a vender and prescriber of quack medicines." 

3d. " Being an irregular practitioner, having adopted the Homoe- 
opathic or infinitesimal system. 

I have written to Dr. Whiting claiming as an unquestionable right, 
that 1 receive an explicit avowal of what " dishonorable conduct" he 
expects to prove me guilty of. I also wish to know what he means 
by quack medicines. I trust you will at once, have forwarded to me 
exact specifications on the^e points. 

I remain your ob't servant, 

WM. W. RODMAN. 

No. IV. 
[This was a letter to Dr. Whiting similar to the above. (No. 3.)] 

No. V. 

New Haven, Sept. 21, 1850. 
Dr. W. W. Rodman : 

Sir : — I have received your letter asking me to forward certain ex- 
planations with regard to the charges preferred against you by Dr. 
Whiting. I shall in compliance with my duty as a Fellow of the 
Med. Society, forward to you, without delay, any new charges that 
may be presented to me. Those sent are all that have been brought 
to my notice ; and have been handed over to the clerk of the County 
Society, in accordance with the By-Laws, passed in May, 1845. 
I am, yours, &c. 

P. A. JEWETT. 



No. VI. 

New Haven, Sept. 23d, 1850. 
To W. W. Rodman, M. D. : 

Sir : — Your letter of the 17th was received on Thursday, and I 
sat down to reply to you that afternoon, but was called away, and 
have not had a convenient opportunity since. 

Your questions hardly need a reply, for you know, as well as I do, 
on what grounds your expulsion from the Society is demanded ; and 
here let me say that, as you know, 1 have no personal acquaintance 
with you, and of course no enmity. The charges were first drawn 
up by another, who called on me and stated satisfactory reasons for 
wishing me to take it out cf his hands, and I certainly am willing to 
have the matter decided, whether a Homcsopathic practitioner can re- 
main for years a member of a society whose principles he and his 
brethren are constantly and openly vilifying. There will be very lit- 
tle hair-splitting in the trial of the case. The fact that you have no- 
toriously practiced and recommended Homoeopathy is all we wish to 
prove, and that I think you will hardly deny. As to the meaning of 
quack, I refer you to a dictionary, and certainly I know of no nostrum 
whose virtues are more impudently and absurdly vaunted than the 
inert globules or infinitesimal dilutions of Homoeopathy. Disclaiming 
again any personal hostility, I am 

Your ob't serv't, 

W. J. WHITING. 

No. vn. 

To the Conn. Medical Society for New Haven County : 

Gentlemen : — 

On the 16th of September I received notice that the following 
charges were to be presented to you against me, by Dr. W. J. 
Whiting: 

" 1st. For being guilty of dishonorable conduct. 

" 2nd. For being a vender and prescriber of quack medicines. 

" 3rd. For being an irregular practitioner, having adopted the 
Homoeopathic or infinitesimal system." 

The first and second charges are so indefinite that I sought from 
Dr. Whiting specifications in regard to therm By him I was in- 
formed that my request " hardly needed a reply" — that "the charges 
were drawn up and handed him" by some one else, "who wished him 
to take it out of his hands" — that he was " willing to have the matter 
decided whether a Homoeopathic practitioner can remain for years a 
member of a Society whose principles he and his brethren are con- 
stantly and openly vilifying'- — that the fact that I "have notoriously 
practised and recommended Homoeopathy is all" that is " wished to 
be proved." For the meaning of quack he "referred" me " to a 
dictionary," adding, that he " knew of no nostrum whose virtues are 
more impudently and absurdly vaunted than the inert globules, or in- 
finitesimal dilutions of Homoeopathy." 

The first and second of Dr. Whiting's charges I deliberately deny. 
I have not been guilty of dishonorable conduct as a practitioner of 



medicine. No assiduous "attentions to families usually employing 
another;" no "officious interferences in cases of sickness in such 
families" can be truly imputed to me. I have repeatedly declined 
overtures to take charge of cases under the treatment of others — and 
this until an opposite course towards myself showed that I was con- 
sidered no longer entitled to " honorable" treatment. I have avoided 
criticising, censuring or ridiculing even before my own friends the 
management of individual cases under other treatment. In express- 
ing my opinions of the merits of different systems of medicine, I have 
not made charges against any of them which are denied by their own 
practitioners. Neither " openly and constantly" nor occasionally 
have I " vilified the principles" of any society or school of medicine. 
While I do not claim that I have never been led to unguarded ex- 
pressions, I assert that the above has been my habit and my aim. 
in these and in other respects my course has not been dishonorable, 
and does not call for any action on your part. 

Nor am I " a vender and prescriber of quack medicines." I ob- 
trude my opinions in regard to my "globules and dilutions" on no 
one. When my opinion is sought I express it freely as do others in 
regard to their medicines. Neither to the friends of Homoeopathy nor 
to others, do I "impudently vaunt the virtues" of its medicines. I 
am not a dealer nor prescriber of any secret or patented remedy either 
for internal use or external application, nor do I directly or indirectly 
derive any advantage from the sale of such articles. Instead of using 
"nostrums," I encourage my patients and families to know so far as 
they please what I administer, and many of them, by keeping the 
most common Homoeopathic remedies instead of their former domestic 
medicines, have the means of repeatedly testing the " virtues" impu- 
ted to them. I use any medicines in any dose which I think will 
benefit my patient, and select that which to the best of my judgment 
is most likely to effect that object. I hold myself ready to compare 
in a friendly manner, views of treatment and the effects of medicines 
with practitioners of any school or system. 

Dr. Whiting explains the accusations he has brought against me 
so as to include them all in his third charge, which alledges that I 
have adopted the Homoeopathic or infinitesimal system. 

I freely admit to you then, that I am an "irregular" practitioner 
so far as to use Homoeopathic remedies in infinitesimal doses, in nearly 
all cases where I prescribe or administer medicines. In the few cases 
in which I vary from this treatment, it is generally owing to the pre- 
vious administration of Allopathic drugs, or to the habit already form- 
ed of resorting to them. In a still smaller number of cases, I have 
used remedial agents other than Homoeopathic where I have felt and 
admitted my inability to do justice to this system. But if I have not 
always confined myself to "infinitesimals," I claim no extenuation 
therefrom, as it has not been from choice. It is my constant aim to 
resort less and less to the Allopathic effect of medicines. Already I 
use the active agents of the Allopathic school so little, that for the 
current year one grain of Mercury, or Arsenic, or Antimony, or Opi- 
um, would have supplied me with all I have used of either of these 
agents, in any and all of their preparations, Allopathic and Homceopa- 



8 

tliic ; and the immediate and final rejection of the entire Allopathic 
pharmacy, would not cause me more regret than the loss of some 
single Homeopathic remedy in infinitesimal doses. 

I admit, therefore, this charge of Dr. Whiting, but I do not plead 
guilty to it. Guilt implies, I need not say, some moral delinquency. 
This I utterly deny, and I protest against your taking any step which 
shall involve me in such an imputation. I do this to throw on those 
who instigated, and on those who would sustain Dr. Whiting's course, 
the responsibility of the action they propose taking. While I will 
not take it for granted that a majority of you. would impute as crimi- 
nal the holding opinions and adopting a practice which many distin- 
guished Allopathists consider not incompatible with honorable conduct 
— if I am mistaken, I fearlessly appeal to a verdict " not long to 
linger," which must reverse yours. 

Yours, respectfully, 

WM. W. RODMAN. 

Waterbury, Oct. 11th, 1850. 

VIII. 

New Haven, Oct. 17, 1850. 

Sir: — At the Semi-Annual Meeting of the New Haven County 
Medical Society, held on the 15th inst. your written defence against 
the charges preferred against you, was duly presented and patiently 
listened to and discussed. Whereupon it was voted : — " That Dr. 
W. W. Rodman has been guilty of dishonorable conduct profession- 
ally, or as a medical man." 

" The 2d and also the 3d charge was declared by vote as proved, 
and it was moved and seconded that Dr. W. W. Rodman be expelled 
from this Society — passed. It was also voted that the documents con- 
nected with this case be transmitted to the Secretary of the State 
Medical Society, to be presented by him at the Annual Convention, 
for its final action." 

I " transmitted the documents to the Secretary" on the 16th inst. 

D. A. TYLER, Clerk, $c. 

Dr. W. W. Rodman, Waterbury, Ct. 

No. IX. 

New Haven, October 15, 1850. 
W. W. Rodman : 

Sir: — Since reading your papers, which I received yesterday" I 
have thought that you may have misapprehended the agency Dr. 
Whiting has had in your presentment for trial. In order to remove 
this, and to do justice to Dr. Whiting, I would say, that I had myself 
prepared the charges against you, and intended to have Dr. Bishop 
(the only other Fellow in New Haven) act as Fellow in the case ; 
but finding Dr. B. out of town,*I took the charges to Dr. Whiting and 
requested him to copy the^ charges, and sign them, merely to comply 
with the prescribed form. 

Yours, &c. 

P. A. JEWETT.